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Learning to care and heal

It was a trip down memory lane for Rankin Inlet Coun. Michael Shouldice when he was asked to speak at the Nunavut Arctic College grad ceremony
Elder Levinia Brown prepares to light the qulliq for the graduation ceremony at Nunavut Arctic College in Rankin Inlet on June 10.

It was a bit of a trip down memory land for Rankin Inlet Coun. Michael Shouldice when he was asked to speak at a recent grad ceremony at the Kivalliq campus of Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) in Rankin Inlet on June 10.

The ceremony featured two certificate graduates in the personal support worker program (Deanna Qunugliq Sammurtok and Kristen Qavangat Bruce), four practical nursing program diploma graduates (Allysha Inukshuk Tologanak, Claire Kabloona Tookanachiak, Jo-Elle Kiqutikkaarjuk Airut and Karyna Igalaaq Kolola) and there was one diploma graduate in the social worker program (Lexi Elizabeth Arngnaujuq Okpatauyak).

Six of the seven graduates were able to attend the event.

The ceremony saw Karyna Igalaaq Kolola awarded the highest academic achievement award by Elissa Sakariassen of the Canadian Association of Nurses from the NWT and Nunavut.

Shouldice said, with a bemused chuckle, that he drew the short draw to represent the hamlet at the ceremony.

The former president of Nunavut Arctic College said it was wonderful to witness the program, with the graduates focused on positions with the new long-term care Elder's facility in Rankin Inlet.

The graduates had, pretty well, finished their courses on a Friday and hired on a Monday,” said Shouldice.

Who wouldn't support an Elder's facility? But, from the hamlet's perspective, this is economic development. It's 35-plus jobs. The college was ready to respond. We asked the Government of Nunavut to make sure it has the financial resources and, apparently, from their president's remarks, the source of the training funding was a federal fund that allowed post-secondary-level programs for Indigenous or aboriginal people.

So, they ran the program two years ahead and that's the way it should be done.”

Shouldice said addressing the gathering brought back some wonderful memories from his time with NAC.

He said it was the first time he was in that space during the past 10 years.

I decided long ago that when I was done, I was done. It's not in my hands and whomever runs it doesn't need me looking over their shoulder or making public comments about it.

I've been asked if I wanted to try for the NAC board of governors and no I don't. It's a new day. It's a new group of people that's a new-age group. It's a whole new challenge out there today for graduates.

The markers of how Inuit see themselves; what's successful, all the professions that people are filling and graduating in, it's all changed and I've moved on.”

About the Author: Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative

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